Whether you are new to physical fitness or an experienced bodybuilder, using whey protein is one of pieces of common knowledge that seemingly everyone has discovered. However, that does not mean that everyone knows exactly how or when to use their whey protein powder supplement.
For those of you who don’t know too much about whey protein at all, whey protein is a by-product of cheese or milk production, and it is a group of specific proteins which are isolated and then powdered.
Whey protein is great because you can use it in a variety of different ways, and a variety of different times of the day. However, there is a lot more you should know about this product before you go and buy a bottle.
Keep reading below to learn when to take whey protein and much more!
What Types of Whey Protein are Available?
Aside from the different flavors and ingredient combinations, there are four main types of whey protein. They are:
- Whey Protein Concentrates
- Whey Protein Isolates
- Whey Protein Hydrolysates
- Native Whey Protein
Whey Protein Concentrates
Unlike the other types of whey protein, whey protein concentrates have a relatively low (although still significant) level of fat and cholesterol. Furthermore, compared to the other forms of whey protein, whey protein concentrates also have a higher amount of carbohydrates (in the form of lactose), and they are 29%-89% protein “by weight.”
I am slightly lactose intolerant and I can use some whey protein products without an issue, but I have trouble digesting whey protein concentrates.
Whey Protein Isolates
Contrarily, whey protein isolates are processed to fully remove the fat and lactose. Whey protein isolate products are over 90% protein by weight, but they do have a slightly milky taste or texture.
Whey protein isolate products are generally easier to digest for me, but I still do not use them regularly. For more information and a quality example of a whey protein isolate product, checkout Xwerks Grow Whey Protein Isolate.
Whey Protein Hydrolysates
Hydrolysates are a type of whey protein which are “pre-digested” and “partially hydrolyzed” for easier metabolizing by your body. However, there cost is generally much higher.
If I am going to use a whey protein product, I will usually use only whey protein hydrolysates. These products cause less stomach discomfort or other similar symptoms for me, which is why they are the only whey protein I can comfortably use.
Native Whey Protein
Lastly, native whey protein is a whey protein which is extracted from skim milk, and not the by-product of cheese production. Native whey protein is produced as both a concentrate and an isolate, but I do not have any experience using these products.
According to a study published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition,
“Despite higher-magnitude increases in blood leucine concentrations with native whey, it was not superior to WPC-80 (Whey Protein Concentrate) concerning effect on muscle protein synthesis and phosphorylation of p70S6K during a 5-h post-exercise period.”
This study shows that although native whey protein is a lesser-known product, it is similarly as effective as other options.
When Should You Take Whey Protein?
If you have never used a whey protein supplement before, there are a few main points in your day that you should drink your whey product.
Whey Protein After Workouts
The most traditional use of whey protein powder is after a training session. Drinking whey protein after a workout can help your muscles recover so that they grow larger and strong. According to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition,
“Isometric knee extension strength was significantly higher following Whey Protein Isolate (WPH) supplementation 3 and 7 days into recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage compared to Carbohydrate (CHO) supplementation. In addition, strong tendencies for higher isokinetic forces (extension and flexion) were observed during the recovery period following WPH supplementation, with knee extension strength being significantly greater after 7 days recovery.”
Whey Protein Before Workouts
Another useful way that you can use a whey protein supplement is to take one serving before a training session. Not only is drinking whey protein before a workout beneficial for improving your lean muscle mass strength and development, studies have shown that it can help you reduce your body fat percentage and develop an aesthetic physique as well!
According to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise,
“Timing Protein Supplementation (PRO) before Heavy Resistance Training (HRT) may be a simple and effective strategy to increase energy expenditure by elevating Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) the day after HRT. Increasing REE could facilitate reductions in body fat mass and improve body composition if nutritional intake is stable.”
Whey Protein in the Morning
Aside from these conventional uses, another great time to take a whey protein supplement is during breakfast, or even in replacement of your breakfast. Whey protein is great for morning use because the grams of protein provide long-lasting and efficient energy.
You can mix whey protein with other superfoods such as spinach and kale for a well-rounded breakfast.
Read More: Metabolism Boosting Foods for Breakfast
Concluding Thoughts – The Best Times to Take Whey Protein
Although there are a few main times when it is best to take a whey protein supplement, there isn’t really a “bad” time. Like all foods, the main concern with taking too much whey protein is total calories and making sure you intake a wide array of different vitamins and minerals from other sources.
Whey protein supplements are great because they are low in calories, but high in protein.
Use this advice, and you will get the most out of your whey protein supplements!
Additional Reading: Creatine Monohydrate Benefits